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Old 10-07-2012, 22:15   #1
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What laptop?

I had a little win fall today. Got told that in contract I was able to Buy a Laptop for myself up to $2000.

Better news still is that it will be mine.

So everyone knows the uses for an off shore boat. If you had the same freeby what would you go for? This is not a troll, I lucked out. I am a Mac user for the last 4 years like admire but not married. Looking for full time usage off shore.

All polite suggestions appreciated.
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:35   #2
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Re: What laptop?

Get a new Mac, and if your applications warrant it, install Windows for a dual boot?

We switched to Mac Mini with an SSD because it's a very nice piece of hardware in a tiny package. Installed Windows (dual boot) to run MaxSea and other misc apps. Very happy with it.
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:34   #3
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Dont dual boot, install VMware
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:42   #4
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Re: What laptop?

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Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
I had a little win fall today. Got told that in contract I was able to Buy a Laptop for myself up to $2000.

Better news still is that it will be mine.

So everyone knows the uses for an off shore boat. If you had the same freeby what would you go for? This is not a troll, I lucked out. I am a Mac user for the last 4 years like admire but not married. Looking for full time usage off shore.

All polite suggestions appreciated.
For serious usage, I strongly recommend the Macbook Pro or other aluminum Mac. You can install VirtualBox or VMWare for free to run Windows apps, however I find that I am no longer using or having any need to run Windows apps. All are available for the Mac, and most are free, except Office which I got for free. You can get OpenOffice for free, however, on any computer. In general, the Mac versions run as well or better than the Windows versions

The reason is construction quality. There are no bottom or side vents which reduces the risk of liquid damage. The hinges and external case components are a very solid metal with minimal joints or seams. This reduces case flexing.

Case flexing is the main cause of motherboard failure for plastic laptops, and poor materials quality is the main cause of mechanical breakage.

I have never in my life heard anyone say "Doh! I spent too much on my Mac. I should have bought a cheap plastic Dell."
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Old 11-07-2012, 15:56   #5
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Re: What laptop?

I don't know if this is an option for you, but iPads work very well for boat use.
You don't need to put them on a table to work, low power consumption, instant on, gps, cheap maps.
I now use an pad 95 % of the time. (I am crusing full time, so this is all on the boat) and my more expensive laptops sit doing nothing.

The iPad certainly will not do everything a laptop will, but for boat use they are excellent.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:09   #6
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Re: What laptop?

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I don't know if this is an option for you, but iPads work very well for boat use.
You don't need to put them on a table to work, low power consumption, instant on, gps, cheap maps.
I now use an pad 95 % of the time. (I am crusing full time, so this is all on the boat) and my more expensive laptops sit doing nothing.

The iPad certainly will not do everything a laptop will, but for boat use they are excellent.
Neolex, are you able to use apps without an internet connection? Or are you connected full time?

IPads have severe limitations compared to laptops, the primary one being a complete lack of a user-definable filesystem (they have a filesystem, but do not provide a means of accessing it or using it for local data storage), except for the space allocated for movies, music, etc. You cannot, for example, save a Word document from the internet, or create local spreadsheets, or copy files to/from a thumbdrive, etc. They do not provide general printing capability, or the ability to copy data (including photos, movies and music) from any media except the internet.

Some of this may be changing in the future, and there might be some signs of that in current versions, but I have not seen any such moves yet, except by the Jailbreak community.

They cannot run any applications except those designed specifically for the IPad. You can remotely execute applications from the iPad, but only if you are connected to a high speed internet connection.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:34   #7
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Re: What laptop?

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Neolex, are you able to use apps without an internet connection? Or are you connected full time?

IPads have severe limitations compared to laptops, the primary one being a complete lack of a user-definable filesystem (they have a filesystem, but do not provide a means of accessing it or using it for local data storage), except for the space allocated for movies, music, etc. You cannot, for example, save a Word document from the internet, or create local spreadsheets, or copy files to/from a thumbdrive, etc. They do not provide general printing capability, or the ability to copy data (including photos, movies and music) from any media except the internet.

Some of this may be changing in the future, and there might be some signs of that in current versions, but I have not seen any such moves yet, except by the Jailbreak community.

They cannot run any applications except those designed specifically for the IPad. You can remotely execute applications from the iPad, but only if you are connected to a high speed internet connection.
I am connected almost full time to the Internet, but in some of the remote anchorages it's non existent, or very, very slow. The applications work without Internet conection.

I agree fully iPads do have limitations, but for boat use, at least if you are not working (like me) the iPad does most things I need much better than a laptop.

Typically I can lie back in the cockpit and switch between surfing the Internet, emails, Skype, reading a book, planning my next sail to a new anchorage and setting an alarm for the champagne chilling in the freezer. I have done all the above tasks today. With instant on I close and open the iPad and within a few seconds I am hooked up to the Internet or emails.

Some of the limitations you mention are real, although I suspect there are ways around most of them.
Coping photos from a camera card is no problem for example, and you can access data or store it on a wifi hard drive.

Perhaps the most telling statistics are that I now use an iPad 95% of the time (when I have a perfectly good laptop available) and I have yet to meet a crusing sailor who did not rave about their iPad, in fact that's why I purchased one.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:41   #8
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Re: What laptop?

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Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
.......You cannot, for example, save a Word document from the internet, or create local spreadsheets, or copy files to/from a thumbdrive, etc. They do not provide general printing capability, or the ability to copy data (including photos, movies and music) from any media except the internet.
I overall agree with you on the IPAD/LAPTOP Usability issue, however - Ican have documents and spredsheets on the IPad I phone, Its just a matter of making them a PDF and putting them in I Books.

Ideal setup maybe a MAC MINI based system inside and an IPAD for roaming around.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:59   #9
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Re: What laptop?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Perhaps the most telling statistics are that I now use an iPad 95% of the time (when I have a perfectly good laptop available) and I have yet to meet a crusing sailor who did not rave about their iPad, in fact that's why I purchased one.
It's true, the iPad is fantastic for 95% of all activities, especially those related to internet surfing or specific apps that have been optimized to the iPad, and can be used to view most documents but not to create or modify them.

I think that the tablets are on their way to being laptop replacements, but they are not there yet.

My wife keeps trying to operate my MacBook by swiping the screen. She won't even look at the touchpad. If she can't do it on her iPad, she's not going to do it!

If you need to generate business documents, though, I don't think the iPad is going to be a good choice. Even when online, it's not supported by any major office application, not even the online ones like Google Docs or Microsoft's online Office apps. I hope that will change, it's just marketing pressure and stubbornness. There is no reason those apps couldn't be made to run on an iPad.
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Old 11-07-2012, 23:13   #10
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Re: What laptop?

If you are willing to forgo the Mac OS, buy a Panasonic Toughbook. For reliability in a harsh environment, no mac laptop will come close. To stay under $2000, you will need to buy a refurbished unit.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:44   #11
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Re: What laptop?

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If you are willing to forgo the Mac OS, buy a Panasonic Toughbook. For reliability in a harsh environment, no mac laptop will come close. To stay under $2000, you will need to buy a refurbished unit.
The toughbook would be a good choice, but I would not buy a refurbished laptop. They rarely have the problems corrected that caused them to be "refurbished" the first time. The techs just plug them in, see that they boot up and run, and then they are resold as "refurbished".

If you don't mind dealing with some problem, then a refurb might be OK. Common problems could include sudden shutdowns or freeze-ups, screen glitches, or certain operating modes that don't work (i.e. certain sound or display settings that can't be used without freezing or crashing the computer.)
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:31   #12
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Re: What laptop?

Macbook Pro....end of discussion.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:47   #13
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Re: What laptop?

Surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but every failure I've ever had with a computer (that I remember) had to do with the hard drive.
MacBook Pro-No hard drive.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:09   #14
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Re: What laptop?

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Surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but every failure I've ever had with a computer (that I remember) had to do with the hard drive.
MacBook Pro-No hard drive.
It seems the most common failure mode to me as well. I am not sure the solid state drives are any more reliable at the moment however.
The best policy is to get a laptop where the hard,or solid state, drive is easy to replace. A few years ago replaced a hard drive on my iBook and the whole laptop needed to be dismantled. It was almost down to its component parts before the hard drive could be changed.
In contrast a hard drive change on an IBM thinkpad took about 5mins with a simple screwdriver.

Apple make some great products, but they are often engineered so they are impossible to service- no idea about the latest range, but that seems to be a consistent and very annoying policy with Apple.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:18   #15
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Re: What laptop?

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Surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but every failure I've ever had with a computer (that I remember) had to do with the hard drive.
MacBook Pro-No hard drive.
Mechanical laptop drives have a standard life of about 5 years given "normal" use. Extensive graphics or sound processing will reduce the life.

Any laptop can be purchased with a solid-state hard drive. I'm not sure of the specs, but I would expect that a solid state drive would be significantly faster, quieter, and use less power - if not now, then certainly in the near future.

My MacBook has a mechanical hard drive. I saved some money by buying a prior-year model (new) at BestBuy, and applied for the BestBuy card to get a little discount, as well as best buy points, which paid for my RAM upgrade.
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